Isotropic Systems antenna

Isotropic Systems secures over US$37m in additional Series B funding

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Isotropic Systems antenna

Isotropic Systems has raised over US$37 million in an equity financing round, which fully funds the development of its game-changing multi-link antennas through to product launch in 2022.

The round is led by Seraphim Space Investment Trust PLC, and also includes participation from leading strategic and deep-tech venture capital investors including AEI HorizonX, Promus Ventures through its Luxembourg based space investment fund Orbital Ventures, and Firmament Ventures.

As a result, Isotropic Systems has accelerated its production phase in time to support new constellations and satellites launching in GEO, HEO, MEO and LEO orbits from 2022 onwards, and has expanded its workforce by 40% over the last five months.

Isotropic Systems’ patented radio frequency optics technology enables the high-performance multi-link antenna to simultaneously connect to multiple satellites in multiple orbits without any compromise in the performance of each link.

John Finney, Isotropic Systems Founder and CEO, said: “We are delighted to announce this new funding today, which will bring our game-changing technology to reality within the next 12 months. The strong interest we have received from across the industry has given us the confidence to accelerate our growth plans and bring forward the commercialisation of our ground-breaking new terminals, harnessing the potential of the thousands of new satellites being launched across multiple orbits in the year ahead.

Brian Schettler, Partner and Head of AEI HorizonX, said: “Isotropic Systems unlocks the industry’s ability to provide connectivity to the wave of next generation high-throughput satellites given Isotropic’s dramatic improvements in terminal capabilities at lower costs.  The ability to affordably bring seamless and simultaneous connectivity to these new satellites across multiple orbits with different frequencies will be revolutionary, as well as critical to meet the growing demand for broadband data across the globe.”

Centtrip montage

Centtrip expands into the US

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Centtrip montage

Fintech business Centtrip has partnered with Adyen to launch its platform, app, and card in the US, with a particular focus on the private and business aviation industry.

The Centtrip card has been designed for the demands of highly mobile organisations such as air charter businesses.

The Centtrip platform gives businesses in the sector real-time visibility and control over their expenses and card payments, helping them empower their pilots and crew, streamline expense payment processes, reduce the cost and risk of carrying cash, and make the accounting process significantly easier.

Jane Turner, Chief Executive Officer, said: “The aviation industry was one of the hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the fundamentals such as speed and service remain. The Centtrip app and online platform, as well as our high card limits, are tailor made for the private aviation industry when dealing with large expenditure. By expanding into the US, we are giving highly mobile businesses in the private aviation industry more control, flexibility and visibility over their money.”

As part of the expansion Centtrip has opened an office in Miami Beach, Florida, and plans to expand its US based team in the coming months.

Eutelsat Communications has closed its US$550 million equity investment in OneWeb, giving it a 17.6% stake.

Eutelsat completes OneWeb equity investment

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Eutelsat Communications has closed its US$550 million equity investment in OneWeb, giving it a 17.6% stake.

Eutelsat Communications has closed its US$550 million equity investment in OneWeb, giving it a 17.6% stake.

Rodolphe Belmer, Chief Executive Officer of Eutelsat, said: “We are delighted to close this investment in OneWeb, giving us a foothold in the Low Earth Orbit segment. We look forward to working in co-operation with OneWeb as its entry into operational service fast approaches, with almost 50% of the constellation now in orbit.”

OneWeb’s 648 LEO satellite fleet will deliver high-speed, low-latency global connectivity. Its partnership with Eutelsat, a global geostationary satellite operator, will enhance both companies’ commercial potential, leveraging Eutelsat’s established commercial reach to governments and enterprise customers in addition to its strong institutional relationships, recognised technical expertise and global fleet. OneWeb’s ability to address multiple applications requiring low latency and ubiquity will also allow both companies to explore GEO/LEO configurations for future service integrations and packages.

Commenting on the agreement announcement back in April, Belmer stated: “We are excited to become a shareholder and partner in OneWeb in the run up to its commercial launch later in the year and to participate in the substantial opportunity represented by the LEO segment within our industry. We are confident in OneWeb’s right-to-win thanks to its earliness to market, priority spectrum rights and evolving, scalable technology.”

Intelsat HQ exterior

Intelsat set to enter private hands

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Intelsat HQ exterior

Key creditor groups of Intelsat have agreed to vote in favour of a comprehensive financial restructuring that would reduce the Company’s debt by more than half – from nearly US$15 billion to $7 billion.

The Company has filed an Amended Plan of Reorganization in its Chapter 11 proceedings pending before the US Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division, accompanied by an explanatory Disclosure Statement. The Amended Plan has the support of holders of approximately $11 billion, or nearly 75%, of the Company’s funded debt. These supporting creditors have executed a Plan Support Agreement that binds their support for the Company’s Amended Plan.

Today’s filings and the widespread consensus in support of the Amended Plan should help to achieve completion of the financial restructuring process and the Company’s emergence from Chapter 11 by the end of 2021. The Amended Plan provides that Intelsat will emerge as a private company, with the support of new equity owners, to best advance its strategic objectives and accelerate its growth trajectory, with a path to becoming publicly traded again at some point in the next five years.

Astronics product portfolio for seat back IFE

Rising demand for air travel lifts Astronics performance

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Astronics product portfolio for seat back IFE

Astronics has reported financial results for the three and six months ended 3 July 2021.

Peter J. Gundermann, President and CEO, commented: “Our second quarter was one of slow but steady progress. Our core aerospace markets strengthened as vaccinations took hold and passenger traffic accelerated. We are encouraged by our bookings trend, especially in our Aerospace segment, where we achieved a book-to-bill ratio of 1.32 for the quarter. We expect these bookings will drive higher sales in the second half of 2021.”

Sales for the quarter were US$111.2 million – down $12.5 million from the second quarter of 2020. Aerospace sales were down $13.4 million.

Supply chain pressures became increasingly impactful as the quarter progressed, mostly affecting delivery schedules but with some pricing pressure also. These pressures limited the company’s ability to respond to accelerated or quick-turn delivery requests from customers. The company estimates that revenue would have been $5 million to $10 million higher in the second quarter if its supply chain was performing normally.

According to the company, commercial aerospace continues to see depressed sales relative to pre-pandemic levels. Sales to this market were $47.8 million, or 43.0% of consolidated revenue in the quarter, compared with $67.5 million, or 54.6% of consolidated revenue in the second quarter of 2020. Demand related to new build and retrofit narrow body aircraft is improving and expected to continue to build through 2021 and into the future. The improvement has been driven by growing domestic travel supporting increased production rates of the 737 MAX and narrow body aircraft being placed back in service. The production and utilisation rates of widebody aircraft have remained very low as international travel has been slow to recover.

EBusiness Jet sales were down $0.5 million, or 3.5%, to $15.0 million.

Gundermann stated: “Our aerospace business is seeing solid demand recovery, most evident in narrowbody commercial transports and general aviation. This has driven higher bookings and a solid 1.28 book-to-bill ratio for the first half of 2021, despite continued weakness in the widebody international market, which is well documented.”

Viasat posts record revenues

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Viasat has revealed record Q1 fiscal year 2022.

Satellite Services revenue increased to US$274 million, a 36% increase YoY. Gains were partially driven by improving in-flight connectivity (IFC) service revenues as passengers return to air travel. In Commercial Networks Viasat saw the top line expand sharply by 77% YoY, totalling $119 million for the quarter. The main growth drivers were accelerating mobile terminal deliveries primarily in support of Delta Air Lines and their updated Wi-Fi service launch this year, as well as continued growth in its ground antenna systems business. Icelandair began flying its Viasat-equipped aircraft on transatlantic flights between the US and Europe

Viasat’s IFC business continued to recover both YoY and sequentially. The company’s airline partners returned more aircraft to service, with the number of active aircraft increasing to approximately 1,400 (on an installed base of 1,550 aircraft) at the end of Q1 FY2022, up over 80% YoY.

Gogo reports strong Q2 performance

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Gogo has released its financial results for the quarter ended 30 June 2021.

The company achieved total revenue of US$82.4 million, an increase of 51% compared to Q2 2020 and 12% compared to Q1 2021, fuelled by strong growth in both service and equipment revenue.

According to Oakleigh Thorne – Chairman & Chief Executive Officer: “Demand for business aviation in-flight connectivity is accelerating. Our advanced platform is perfectly positioned to take advantage of that acceleration and our vertically integrated business model is converting that demand into sustainable very positive bottom-line performance for Gogo.”

Speaking to analysts, Thorne highlighted the positive performance of the AVANCE L5 platform. “While AVANCE revenue and shipments were strong for the quarter AVANCE orders for Q3 and Q4 are even stronger. And orders for 2022 are looking like they will be even stronger than 2021, all of which will have long-term benefits for Gogo,” he noted.

Another significant revenue driver for Gogo, is the rapid increase in the amount of data consumed by passengers as they use more data-intensive applications such as streaming, file sharing and video conferencing. Across its entire fleet, Gogo customers consumed 52% more data in Q2 2021 than they did in Q2 2019, driven by 26% increase in megabytes per flight hour and 20% increase in flight hours per day.

Thorn revealed that data consumed across large and charter and fractional flights nearly doubled over 2019. Gogo has launched four streaming plans for AVANCE customers including a new limitless streaming plan to take advantage of this demand, selling more than 50 of those streaming plans to date, driving an increase of $193 per month ARPU per AVANCE aircraft online.

During the analysts call, Thorne also provided an update on the progress of some of the company’s strategic initiatives.

Thorne confirmed that its 5G antenna had completed flight testing was readying for qualification testing in Q4. During Q2, Gogo installed and tested its first 5G base station antenna array as it prepares for Q4 installation of a seven tower test bed. The 5G core is simply awaiting integration testing, while the prototype of the 5G airborne LRU has been tested prequel testing begun. In with expectations, Gogo expects a commercial launch of Gogo 5G in the second half of 2022.

The hardware portion of the AVANCVE L5 5G upgrade is designed to be easy and inexpensive. As Thorne explains, “We will replace the two L5 antennas with two 5G antennas that fit in the exact same attachment points as the L5 antennas. And will add a small box next to the AVANCE box inside the aircraft.”

Left to right - Magnus Hardarson, CEO Nasdaq Iceland and Mr. Birgir Jónsson, CEO of PLAY ii

PLAY joins stock market 12,000 feet

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Left to right - Magnus Hardarson, CEO Nasdaq Iceland and Mr. Birgir Jónsson, CEO of PLAY ii

Trading in new low-cost Icelandic airline PLAY has commenced on the Nasdaq First North Growth Market Iceland, having successfully raised US$274 million in a recent, oversubscribed share offering.

PLAY celebrated its market listing with CEO Birgir Jónsson ringing the stock market bell at 12,000 feet.

“After a successful IPO, our inaugural flight and now trading of our shares, these past few weeks will be remembered for a long time here at PLAY. Our staff has worked wonders and we are well prepared to maximise the opportunities post-Covid. I think we can be allowed a little optimism now that we can start rebuilding Iceland’s aviation and tourism sectors,” said Jónsson.

Image: Left to right – Magnus Hardarson, CEO Nasdaq Iceland and Birgir Jónsson, CEO of PLAY

OneWeb satellite in assembly

OneWeb fully-funded following latest US$500m investment

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OneWeb satellite in assembly

OneWeb has secured further fund-raising on the anniversary of the successful bid by UK Government and Bharti Global (Bharti) to purchase OneWeb from US Chapter 11 to bring its total funding to US$2.4 billion. OneWeb has completed its transformation with the exercise of a Call Option by Bharti to invest an additional $500m into the company.

The announcement comes as OneWeb prepares for its eighth launch on 1 July, delivering highly anticipated and strategically valuable Arctic region coverage down to 50 degrees latitude.

The Call Option is expected to be completed in the second half of 2021, subject to regulatory approvals. On completion of the Call Option and with Eutelsat’s $550m investment, Bharti will hold 38.6%. The UK Government, Eutelsat and Softbank will each own 19.3%.

On completion, OneWeb will have secured $2.4 biilion of equity investment, with no issued debt.

Neil Masterson, CEO of OneWeb commented: “The completion of our funding puts OneWeb in a powerful position. We have significantly lower entry cost of any LEO. We benefit from $3.4 billion of pre-Chapter 11 investment by the original shareholders, making new OneWeb a three-times lower cost Constellation. With the forthcoming launch we will have completed 40% of our network. We are intently focused on execution and just ten more launches will enable us to deliver global coverage. Investors have backed the extraordinary efforts of the OneWeb team to deliver more of the global connectivity the World needs.”

OneWeb Satellites

Eutelsat becomes key investor in OneWeb

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OneWeb Satellites

OneWeb has secured US$550 million in funding from Eutelsat Communications bringing OneWeb’s total funding to $1.9 billion in fresh equity.

Eutelsat will receive a c.24% equity stake in OneWeb and similar governance rights to the UK Government and Bharti Global, making it a significant equity partner and joining leading investors including the U.K. Government, Bharti Global and SoftBank. The investment is expected to be completed in the second half of 2021, subject to regulatory approvals.

After OneWeb completes the full deployment of its planned 648 LEO satellite constellation, the company anticipates annual revenues of approximately $1 billion in year three or soon thereafter, thanks to its partnership driven, wholesale business plan.

Neil Masterson, Chief Executive Officer of OneWeb, said: “We are delighted with the investment from Eutelsat, which validates our strategy, technology and commercial approach. We now have 80% of the necessary financing for the Gen 1 fleet, of which nearly 30% is already in space. Eutelsat’s global distribution network advances the market entry opportunities for OneWeb and we look forward to working together to capitalise on the growth opportunity and accelerate the pace of execution.”

Commenting on the agreement, Rodolphe Belmer, Eutelsat’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are excited to become a shareholder and partner in OneWeb in the run up to its commercial launch later in the year and to participate in the substantial opportunity represented by the LEO segment within our industry. We are confident in OneWeb’s right-to-win thanks to its earliness to market, priority spectrum rights and evolving, scalable technology.”